Immediately after President Obama was named the winner of Florida in the 2012 presidential election (which incidentally was five days after Obama actually defeated Mitt Romney), then Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith talked about how the Dems could overcome their traditional turnout disadvantage in 2014 by relying on the same group of voters that led to the Obama victory — women, gays, young people and minorities.
It remains to be seen how well the Democrats, and specifically Charlie Crist, will be able to rein in those voters later this year, but the "People's Governor" (as his campaign team incessantly describes him) took a page out of the Obama campaign playbook last night, hosting 50 house parties across the state, including one in St. Petersburg where the new Democrat ended up appearing, and where he gave a conference call to those connected up and down the Sunshine State.
"We're facing a $100 million deception machine that we get to watch on TV every night and all day long," Crist told his listeners and supporters. "They have the resources, but they don't have the people."
But Crist isn't doing so horribly on the financial front. Although Scott's got much more money in the bank, Crist actually raised more money for his campaign and related political committee in April, taking in $2.2 million to Scott's $1.3 million.
Crist was at the home of St. Pete resident Dona Stewart, who said, "'I'm tired of divisive politics. And I think Charlie's the man who can bring us all together and move forward to solve the problems that affect all of us throughout the state."
Crist also poured on the honey for those who had called in to listen to him at one of those 49 other parties."There's no greater gift than to allow you into your home."
Crist said the question he's asked most by reporters on the campaign trail is what he would do differently than Rick Scott if elected in November. His answer? "Everything...we'll protect the environment, not destroy it. We'll protect education and make sure teachers are respected, not one or two years, but every single year."
Crist said he talked to teachers around the state who said they didn't get that full $2,500 bonus promised by the governor. "I call it fraud," Crist declared, before segueing into Scott's issues in the private sector. "Ethics and integrity matter," he said, specifically alluding to HCA/Columbia, the health care company of which Scott was CEO that was fined $1.7 billion for Medicare fraud. "It's unbelievable. And now he's our governor. It's shocking. You can't make that up," Crist declared.
Also joining the call were former House Democrat Loranne Ausley and Omar Khan, Crist's campaign manager, who said that, as he did when working with President Obama in 2008 and 2012, the Crist campaign will be opening up offices up and down the state. "We know how we're going to do this: phone call by phone call, we're going to do it door-by-door and we're going to get out the vote and we're going to put the people back in charge of Florida."
Ausley trotted out a greatest hits package of sorts of Crist actions as governor from 2007-2011 that pleased Democrats, such as vetoing SB 6, a bill extremely unpopular with public school teachers (and which was passed the next year under Rick Scott), extending early voting hours in 2008, and leading the charge on the environment.
In other news… Marco Rubio is being mocked in some quarters of the country for his comments on climate change over the weekend. Pinellas County Republican David Jolly also has issues with how to deal with the problem, but doesn't deny that it's man-made.
And supposedly Tampa is the 11th most courteous city in the country when it comes to dealing with road rage, though a couple of emails I received from readers after we posted this story question that impressive statistic.